With the nation’s economy in the tank, and our best player on the DL, we could all use a good laugh. So, today’s news is powered by the late, great George Carlin:
- It appears the Yanks are beholden to Ransom:
As for acquiring a fill-in for Rodriguez, Cashman said again on Tuesday that he is not actively searching. “I’m not optimistic about doing anything,” he said. “I’m not going to be proactive in trying to do something.” Cody Ransom, a 33-year-old journeyman, is in line to step in for Rodriguez. “With the team not wanting add payroll, not wanting to hurt the farm system and stuff like that, and we’re going to get Alex back, we’re going to go with what we have in camp,” Cashman said.
- The Captain has been getting to know the BoSox’ Pedroia and Youkilis, and it appears to be a mutual admiration society:
“You get to know guys playing against them, as players,” Jeter said. “But one of the good things about something like this is you get an opportunity to put personalities with the players.” Previously, Pedroia and Youkilis had only spent time with Jeter as part of last year’s AL All-Star team. … “I like to keep it loose and have fun,” Pedroia said after yesterday’s workout at Rogers Centre, where Team USA resumes play tomorrow night, having already clinched a berth in this weekend’s second round in Miami. “I think [Jeter] kind of laughs at me the whole time. He probably thinks I’m crazy.” Youkilis said he has always respected Jeter, but spending the past week with him has taken that admiration to another level. “[Jeter] has been unbelievable, and you see why he’s the captain of the Yankees,” Youkilis said.
- There was a Moose sighting at Steinbrenner field:
The recently retired right-hander was a special guest visitor at Yankees camp on Tuesday, escaping the Pennsylvania cold for a vacation and some fun in the sun. He has no regrets about his decision to walk away from the game. “I’m doing nothing,” Mussina said, grinning. “And when I walked through the weight room, I knew why I’m doing nothing. I feel good being retired.” As he would later reveal, Mussina knew last spring that 2008 would be his final season. There was no point during the offseason that he thought about changing his mind, he said, and even when pitchers and catchers began reporting to Spring Training camps, Mussina found himself content. … Mussina’s former corner locker is now occupied by CC Sabathia, and Mussina greeted his replacement, calling him “Mr. Sabathia” and telling him to keep the space.
- Over at The Biz of Baseball, Pete Toms wonders if the Yankees brand is now tarnished:
In the short term, winning is marketing. Much of the complaining about seat relocations, public handouts to billionaires paying millionaires and a cheating superstar, can be overlooked if the Yankees win. But as defined by Yankee fans, winning means winning it all. Long term, is what the Yankees are selling out of step with the zeitgeist? Tom Van Riper wonders, “Sure, the economic slump will only last so long, but some experts think the shock and suddenness of the global financial crisis may have shifted consumer attitudes permanently. For all but the wealthiest, the luxury sports experience could be out for a long time. That means a lot of $1,000 tickets and personal seat licenses could go unsold and unpopulated for a very long time.” That, not A-Rod, is the Yankees’ biggest problem.
- The well-respected Jim Kaat has a blog over at YES, and he had this to say about the A-Rod steroid situation:
When I went down to the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic team practice before A-Rod opted to shut it down for the tournament and have hip surgery, I got to talk to him a little bit. He came right up to me and said, “I really appreciate your support and I was hoping to run into you and thank you.” I told him right back that he’s an easy target, and it’s easy to pile on to the situation. I went on to tell him that I had a conversation with Bob Gibson, and we both agreed that in my playing day, if these things were readily available, we would have all been tempted to use them. I wish him a speedy recovery, and he is missed in the WBC event.
- Jayson Stark compares and contrasts the off-season moves of the BoSox and Yanks, and seems to think the Beantowners did just fine:
But the Red Sox’s additions were products of a whole different philosophy, not just a whole different checking account. The four free agents they imported — John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Takashi Saito and Rocco Baldelli — cost this team 4 million fewer guaranteed dollars ($12.5 million total) than the Yankees will pay Burnett alone this year. Nevertheless, the upside of those men gives the Red Sox four potential impact players without the price tags, or long-term inflexibility, that come with handing out contracts that run through 2016.
- Kevin “don’t call me Pokey …. or Della” Reese turns 31 today. Reese accumulated 13 ABs over the ’05 and ’06 seasons with the Yanks.
- Paddedwallaphobic Bobby Abreu turns 35 today. To show you how far the Rays have come as an organization, they took the 23-year-old prime prospect Abreu in the 1997 expansion draft, but immediately dealt him to the Phils for the good fielding, mediocre-hitting 27-year-old SS Kevin Stocker. Stocker was out of baseball by age 31.
- The late Dock Ellis would have been 64 today.
- On this date in 1956, at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Mickey Mantle hits a Grapefruit League pitch from Larry Jackson over the left field wall into the bay. The Yankees top the Cardinals 4 – 3. Stan Musial contends, “no home run has ever cleared my head by as much as long as I can remember.” Mantle will hit another at Al Lang Field on March 20 off Bob Mave that also lands in the water, and will clock a 500-foot shot in Miami four days later against the Dodgers.
- Speaking of Mickey, on this date in 1960, he signs a one-year contract worth $65,000. The new deal is a $7,000 cut in pay for Mantle, who batted .285 with 31 home runs and 75 RBI for the Yankees in 1959.
- On this date in 2001, the Bombers formally announce the signing of Cuban defector Andy Morales, a third baseman, to a four-year contract. Morales will wash out and be waived from his minor league team by July. The Yankees will try and sidestep his contract with proof that his listed age of 26 years is really 29.
- On this date in 2002, the Yanks release Ruben Rivera for stealing Derek Jeter’s mitt out of his locker, and selling it on the black market for $2,500. There are rumors that Rivera also took other memorabilia items, such as things belonging to Roger Clemens, but Clemens denies it. Rivera had been signed to a one year contract for $1 million.